Rolf’s New Mustang

A class-conscious ad designed so that upscale people will book a cruise features a Daddy Warbucks-type fellow pontificating over how ‘As you begin to get older you realize that time is your most precious commodity.’ Believe me, the video fully conveys the image that he has ‘commodities’ up the wazoo—I mean, this guy is ‘successful,’ as you are too, no doubt, or soon will be. What sumptuous surroundings form his world!

And since your most ‘precious commodity’ is limited and fleeting (as with wings it flies away, the scripture might as well be speaking of time instead of money) what more noble thing can a scion like yourself do but blow his less-precious commodities on river cruises, thus expanding the mind through travel? Sheesh! Why not say it? ‘As you begin to get older and reap the enormous wisdom of grey hairs, as I have, you begin to realize that this life is all there is!’ How to masquerade shallowness as depth.

Look, I’ve nothing against travel. Like The Beach Boys, I get around. Just last week 41BFCBE8-BBA6-48D5-8A6F-FCA49EF01C00I was in Oswego and dined in a restaurant (no—not McDonalds) that didn’t quite live up to its reputation—where they poured us wine and everything. Finally, I have all the bugs out of ‘Go Where Tom Goes’—a travelogue for those who aren’t fussy—of all the places my wife and I have been, up and down the eastern U.S, but mostly PA and NY. It is my first book with pictures. It is my first book of which I can readily gift copies to friends, it not dealing in anything controversial. Although road travel is a theme and I get in my licks for historical sites, informal witnessing is a sub-theme—there are plenty of spiritual diversions thrown in. You could even call it a primer on informal witnessing, where you don’t incessantly stay in, ‘Would you like to live forever in paradise?’ mode, but you add a spiritual layer to whatever topic is already under discussion. Sometimes people bite on that and sometimes they don’t.

So I, too, realize that time is my ‘most precious commodity.’ I too am getting more brilliant by the second, making wise use of it. But I don’t share this baron of wealth’s utter defeat, disguised as a victory, that my most precious commodity is soon to run out. It may be put on hold someday. But if I mind my P’s and Q’s, continuing to put my faith and trust where it belongs, continuing to kick Rolf in the rear end when he (I just read a post of his) grumbles over Kingdom Hall consolidation in the West, asserting that HQ vacuums up money like a Kirby these days, offering no reason as to why, and leaving the impression that they just fill swimming pools at Bethel with the stuff and bathe in it.

It is a slander of people’s motives. Frankly, I think it’s a better way to see through this guy than with his grumbling over congregation discipline. After all, ‘kicking against the goads’ of discipline can result in dramatic change for those not yielding to it. But being on the losing end of one Kingdom Hall folded into another? At most, a 30 minute drive to and from another Hall twice a week. Inconvenient, to be sure, but hardly life-altering, and what do you get for it?

Sell one underperforming Hall in the U.S. to combine with another, and with the proceeds you can build 50 in developing lands where there is an immediate need. Sometimes it also goes to building a Kingdom Hall in Western areas where land is so astronomically priced that no way will the needy local congregation be able to afford it.

How come Rolf doesn’t say this? How come he leaves the impression that the Governing Body he feuds with is doing nightly champagne and oysters on the Potomac like McClellan?—that they just like to funnel money to themselves for the sake of funneling money to themselves? What beef does he have with the ‘equalizing’ that you would think would be the very essence of a worldwide Christian community?

For I do not want to make it easy for others, but difficult for you; but that by means of an equalizing, your surplus at the present time might offset their need, so that their surplus might also offset your deficiency, that there may be an equalizing. Just as it is written: “The person with much did not have too much, and the person with little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

This verse was referred to continually as the new equalizing program was under consideration. Why does Rolf treat it as untouchable—as though it were from the Book of Mormon? If this good news of the Kingdom is to be preached in all the inhabited earth, and disciples are to be made throughout, at some point you have to abandon the attitude, “I got mine. If they can’t get theirs, too bad for them!” If Rolf doesn’t have that attitude, he has one that so closely resembles it that it’s impossible to tell the difference.

When the rush of Kingdom Halls were built over the decades, the plan was to fill them to the rafters. For the most part, that hasn’t happened. Kingdom Hall attendance holds its own in most areas. Sometimes it even diminishes. The young are not so enamored with religion as the old, and their notion of spirituality can have more to do with ‘mindfulness’ than with God. I once thought we would be immune to the trend, which certain churches counter with in-house rock groups and pizzazz, but it has proven not to be the case. Why not consolidate what there is lesser need for? One must not whine forever on, ‘Why were the former days better than these?” for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

To be sure, we keep speaking about our ‘great growth,’ whereas if anyone else did it, we’d say they were going belly up. But some places do experience growth. And these places—duh—tend to be where people are not obsessively planning their next river cruise. It’s no surprise that the Christian message will resonate more clearly to the poor and underserved than to the monied people. “God chose the insignificant things of the world and the things looked down on, the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,” the apostle says (1 Corinthians 1:28), as he repeatedly points out that “not many” of the loftier type were chosen. Wealth has a corrosive effect on humility, not withstood by all, and humility is a bedrock requirement for following Christ.

There is inconvenience in catering to the entire brotherhood—that’s for sure. One Florida congregation I visited had amassed a considerable sum toward the building of a new Kingdom Hall on the main drag with better parking facilities (otherwise, the existing Hall was very well appointed, not inferior in any way). When the new equalizing arrangement went into effect, all that money was syphoned into the ‘Worldwide Work.’ Was there any grousing about that? I asked my host. “Oh, yeah,” he said.

Of course there will be. It’s a substantial shift. Governance from the Witness organization is “top down”—it make no pretense of being a democracy, or even a representative democracy—just as is the pattern in the invisible realm. Moreover, the congregation is trusting, for if their organization is not transparent to the nth degree, it is way more transparent than any other government they can think of. The congregation scrutinizes finances to a scant degree. It would approve a nuclear reactor if one were floated in resolution—not that one ever would be, and everyone knows that. Opponents do all in their power to break down that trust but it remains intact—even though ones like Rolf make as much noise as Gideon, hoping to make the same impression as that one.

The policy of ‘equalizing’ reflects leadership style. Anything done can be done differently. Nothing garners immediate unanimous applause (contrary to what the magazines sometimes suggest). Eventually, those taking the lead have to decide, as they monitor the pulse of the congregations through continual feedback from traveling (circuit) overseers. Our people ultimately buy into the notion that they ought not just focus on what benefits them, but that which benefits the “whole association of brothers” that they are supposed to, and do, “have love for.” (1 Peter 2:17). Why isn’t Rolf on board with this?

Wandering, you say—starting off with cruises and pivoting to Rolf? Not a bit of it. What is the outfit with which the wealthy sophisticated commodity magnate, who has disdained ‘everlasting life’ as a fairy tale for chumps, and so regards the here-and-now as the be-all and end-all, is planning his next cruise? The Norwegian River Cruise line. And what country is Rolf from? Norway. Wandering, my foot! Tune in next time when I tell you about his newest purchase of a classic Fiord Mustang.



******  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'

Each One Will Fall in His Own Particular Way—The Wrath of Rolf

Now we know how many tears we can shed over Rolf, who has become the enemy of the good in his quest for the ‘perfect.’

So much for his “beloved religion”—wasn’t that in the title? 

Lloyd goes down in flames and Rolf steps up to the plate. I’d better not read in a few years that he’s also chasing after the sex workers in Thailand. 


They lay on counsel with a trowel at Bethel. Always have, probably always will. It is because they are, and usually have been all their lives, full-time servants totally immersed. Most have logged serious hours in the preaching work over many decades. They have gone eyeball to eyeball with those who oppose the good news (and endeavor to shield others from it), and consequently—are they ever given to overstatement?

Yeah, I get it—that picture of the Witness couple watching the Peace and Security announcement is a bit much. But you can bet the Russian brothers and sisters don’t see it that way. Not when they (and we) have seen headlines that Jehovah’s Witnesses are no longer allowed in that land. I recall a circuit assembly demonstration in the 70s of a couple picking up their newpaper and reading that Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned. It is reality in Russia today. Other nations have followed suit, and there are plenty of others in which serious efforts are made for that outcome. 

Why don’t the “more reasonable” brothers take these “most zealous” brothers in tow? Because the zealous ones are the ones who have done the work. The “more reasonable” ones would not be up to it—they would be sunk by too many other diversions and responsibilities. Do not come even remotely close to the superfine apostles who wanted to outrank Paul in influence but not in work. Explore  “what’s wrong” with this or that bit of spiritual food? Better to look for ways that it might work, rather than for ways that it might not.

I’ve mentioned before a past buddy named Mike. He was crazy weird and unbalanced. Orphaned at a young age, he was literally brought up in a traveling circus that became his family, where he learned that the purpose of people was to manipulate them as marks. He latched on to the truth like a guard dog latching on to your parka and did not let go, though he was so nutty that he seriously tested many a person’s patience and ultimately his own broken past did him in—though he did die faithful. I wrote in ‘No Fake News’ something to the effect that he was broken when we found him, and we didn’t fix him, but we fixed him about as much as might be possible in this system of things. 

Anyhow, he had an amazing gift for simplifying the complex. I recall him explaining to someone how the Governing Body just studies and studies their Bibles all day long, and they notice something. They discuss with each other that something that they’ve noticed, and eventually it comes out as printed counsel.

Now the thing is, he would explain, you also study your Bible, and in the course of your study you may have noticed that point too, maybe even before they did. “And if this was Christendom, you’d run out and start your own religion over it.” Thus in the simplest possible way, he balanced personal initiative with recognition of headship.

He had come into the truth when, despondent because his life was totally in the crapper, he called in tears a friend who’s life was also in the crapper. That friend said he didn’t know what might help, but he was taking a Bible study from a Jehovah’s Witness and invited Mike to join. Mike listened for an hour, then pulled $100 from his wallet. “Here—this is what you want—take it!” The brother demurred and Mike pushed back, “Take it! Why else would anyone do what you are doing. We both know this is a scam!” The brother then misapplied the James verse about if anyone turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save him from death and will cover a multitude of sins. “I’ve committed a lot of sins in my life. I have a lot of sins I need covered.” Silence, as Keith (the friend) related to me. Then—uncontrolled sobbing as Mike broke down in tears (and Keith was mortified that once again his crazy friend, absolutely without self-control, was disrupting a simple discussion—but after that Mike made lightening-like progress.

Rolf didn’t get his way, so he brings wrath upon his “beloved religion” like the Misery heroine brought wrath upon her beloved author—it serves as a cautionary tale. One moment you’re expounding upon how you disagree with this or with that policy or interpretation and the next moment you’re breaking ankles with a sledge hammer. 

I don’s seriously fear that I may follow Roff even though I’ve indulged in some minor muttering over the years. I am not proud. Seared into my being is what Jehovah has done for me. I am loyal by nature. I am a peacemaker. I am not critical A better companion you never will find. If I was hours late for dinner would you bellow? Of course not!

His publisher sent me a copy of his book. I don’t think I ever contacted him, but I may have tagged him somewhere along the line. At any rate I have a Rolf category in my blog—mostly disjointed musings that I’ve not done much with. Maybe that came to his attention somehow. Or even when I applied the Bob Dylan lyric to him: “But oh mama, ain't you gonna miss your best friend nowYou're gonna have to find yourselfAnother best friendsomehow,” along with “who’s gonna be his best friend now, Patiently Sitting on his Hands?”

He gifted me his book, so I gifted him mine, TrueTom vs the Apostates, with the note:

My works are not so rigorous as yours—I intentionally keep a light tone and I do not pretend to be a scholar—but hopefully succeed in looking at things from atypical points of view. To take one topic that you develop, I have included a chapter on disfellowshipping. I have no problem conceding that anything done could be done differently, nor that ‘kicking against the goads’ might be painful. This particular chapter, ‘In Defense of Shunning’ makes some inferences from Mark Smith’s book, Secular Faith. The WT has quoted from that book, which led me to examine it all. You have generously offered your work. I do the same.

On things that might cause stumbling regarding organizational directing, well, not all is as I personally would like it. I take the Rolling Stones song as though my own, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ I’ve also observed that the point of contention is always going to be the divine/human interface, and have been so bold to speculate that this is even true with Judas (not making comparisons with yourself) himself: he and God were tight. No problems there. But this character claiming to be the messiah was not at all what Judas had expected

As to direction perceived as unwise, that could be applied to the Lord himself. ‘To whom shall we go?’ Peter said in response to the latter’s blood and flesh remark. Why did Jesus say it as he did? No clue here. ‘What a dumb thing to say!’ I can easily picture the point being made, since enemies would seize upon it later to spread the ill rumor that Christians practiced cannibalism.

“I have heard your book caused ousting from the congregation and so feel obliged to mention that I do not blow off counsel on interacting with DFed ones as nothing. I don’t consider myself ‘above it.’ But nothing is absolute, and most things need not be taken to the nth degree. (‘I could feel the wind’ said someone of how, when they were DFed, she said such to a certain JW who immediately turned away.) Indeed, the online world presents scenarios where you might easily be dealing with DFed ones unknowingly, (‘Every man online is a liar’ is my modification of Romans 3:4) so I appreciate when people are upfront and try to be the same.”

I’m just amazed at how fast a critical person can fall. I would not have thought it of Rolf, the intellectual counterpart of fleshy Lloyd, who goes in for the sex trade of Thailand—illustrating, I guess, that each one will fall in this own particular way. 

Shocking to those of the Western world, the Bible does not celebrate free speech. Sometimes it celebrates shutting people up, as in “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.” If I have advanced the notion that the brothers may overreact on negative talk, I also recognize the verse of contrary talk that spreads like gangrene,as well as the tongue being the most potent weapon of all, capable of setting ablaze the entire forest. So I always check that it is a rainy day before I say anything and even then I keep my forcefulness in check. (Titus 1:11, 2 Timothy 2:17, James 3:5)

Someone online mentioned that he might be in hot water if the brothers back home knew the freeness of speech he engages in here. It is a problem i don’t have. Unlike everyone else here, my writing is well known to the brothers back home and to Bethel itself. Not that I imagine anyone follows me closely, probably not at all, but I have made no secret of how I blog and word gets around—even though it is something I never mention at the Hall. Knowing that anyone could follow me at any time imposes a discipline onthat has served me well. It has impressed upon me an art of showing myself supportive and respectful. “There is a downside of this” comes across as supportive. “I don’t agree with this” does not.

My practice of tweeting the meeting drew the attention of some (and has also blown over). One of the elders began to follow me on Twitter. Now, this is not a ‘monitoring elder’ I don’t think—this is one much like myself in many ways. It benefited me for him to do this, for in the assurance of anonymity I had tweeted a few tweets that if the person I spoke of knew it, there might be hurt feelings. Now I have improved to where, though I will do foibles, they will not be such that would cause hurt feelings even if the brother or sister did hear of them.

With the exception, of course, of the brother who follows me. On occasion I will tweet something like, “Another comment from that elder who is the worst speaker in the entire circuit, possibly the entire world. He follows me here on Twitter so I try to make it worth his while.”


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'

Top Norwegian Awesome Scholar Proves that CSA Hysteria Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Is Bogus”—Rolf Furuli—Part 3

Q: What does Rolf have to say in his new book about the controversy of child sexual abuse and Jehovah’s Witnesses?

A: Almost nothing. “Not even in a much too long dissertation on porneia and similar words,” I am told. However—in the footnotes, he writes:

“I would like to add that several accusations against the GB on the Internet and other places are not true. For example, in connection with child molestation, the GB has been accused of having directed elders to hide such crimes from the authorities. The first time such crimes were known to elders in Norway was around 1990. Since then, elders have been advised to take particular measures to protect children, and always to cooperate with the police. So this accusation is wrong!”

Ah. So the real headline to be taken from the Rolf book, obscured by 50,000 wet dream malcontent posts on the internet, is 

Top Norwegian Awesome Scholar Proves that CSA Hysteria Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Is Bogus

In writing this headline, I hesitated to use the word “proved.” Had he really done that? He just gave his testimony. But then I deferred to the words of a certain dodo on the internet who declared of Rolf’s book—without having reading it: “I think this gentleman and his book proves the point I'm making here.”

In fact, it ‘proves’ just the opposite. (If he can do it, I can do it.)

In a roundabout way, Rolf brings his gift to the altar. Are legal assaults against JW HQ In recent years due to how leadership evolved over time and how Rolf doesn’t care for the current take on Matthew 24:45-47?

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.”

Or—are they about sensationalized investigations of CSA that sometimes one could wish the JW organization would kick back a little more on? Put Rolf on the stand as star ‘expert’ witness for the defense—after lauding him as Moses descending with the tablets, opposers can hardly say that he has no sense whatsoever—and knock the legal ball out of the park. It can be a win-win. It is just a matter making lemonade out of lemons.

“If he has said his piece, and remains as low-key as he should,” maybe it will all blow over. That’s what my unnamed source said—“unnamed” because I am trying to prove myself a modern journalist, and also because he may be bashful. Maybe it will be some esoteric matter for the airy halls of academia with little spillover into everyday life—after all, it is well-known that the ‘thinkers’ and the ‘doers’ often are from different sides of the tracks.

Maybe. However, this kind of “wishful thinking” often fails because enemies will not let it remain low-key. It has made their day, if not year, and they will pump and pump until it becomes the only story that matters!!!

The 2003 WT, 4/1 writes in the article ‘Mildness—An Essential Christian Quality’ of how a “young man reported to Moses that Eldad and Medad were acting as prophets in the camp—“My lord Moses, restrain them!”he cries. Moses mildly replied: “Are you feeling jealous for me? No, I wish that all of Jehovah’s people were prophets, because Jehovah would put his spirit upon them!” Maybe the HQ brothers will act the same, it was surmised. Maybe. But I added to the account:

“But the young man again said, this time emphatically, “My Lord Moses, restrain them!’ Moses mildly replied: “Not a problem. Chill.”

But the young man once again said: “My Lord Moses, restrain them!!!!!” Moses mildly replied: “Let’s stay low-key about this.”

But the young man once again said:MY LORD MOSES, RESTRAIN THEM!!!!”  (this is going to be good!!!!)”

Time will tell.

.....[Edit] I was called out on this one several days later:

“So the real headline to be taken from the Rolf book, obscured by 50,000 wet dream malcontent posts on the internet” - this quotation from your blog exhibits a complete contempt for the experiences of others. Would love you to use this language on the doorstep!”

Of course I will not use it there, for every saying must be put in its proper setting. “If it helps,” I replied, I will concede that the “50,000 wet dream posts” is not a phrase that would be heard in the Kingdom Hall, though it is exceedingly mild for the internet. Nor when I speak of them am I referring to anyone who genuinely was wronged. I am referring to a 2nd buttressing layer of supporters who have opposed the JW work and faith since long before CSA arose as a topic.

Even so, maybe certain phrasing should be backed away from. No sooner do we imagine we have razor-sharp intellect than we use it to get others riled. It is the reason that I recently changed but a single letter to take a bite out of Vomidog.



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'

The Rolf Furuli Book - Part 2 - Great Anti-types for Those Who Are Not Fussy

Q: I read your “discussion” of the Rolf book. Like John Lennon said in Hey Bulldog, do you know any more?

Yes. There are always to be found those who are excruciatingly specific with Bible verses—especially if from Revelation. One of them tied the “trumpet blasts” of Revelation 11 to Trump. He was not one of our ex’s—if there is one guiding light to Witness biblical commentary, it is that prophesy will never be connected with specific individuals, but with historical trends—often broad ones. Sometimes they are narrowed down, but never to the point of where Oscar Oxgoad’s ancient father stares at the president on TV and says, “He’s the one!” He has said that of every president since Truman.

We have our ex’s who go equally batty, though. To throw some red meat to them: Dennis Christensen, the first Witness imprisoned for his faith in Russia—his very name points to the one he follows, and even his carpentry profession is the same. If they are going to twiddle their thumbs on that one at Watchtower HQ, where they don’t do anti-types anymore, and attach equal significance to the second Witness detained, Mahonihen Muvibodidilyvich, then the type/anti-type is open for one of our outliers to establish.

Do you think that there is only one such curiosity to exploit? How about the pattern that Rolf Furuli has just revealed? Do you think that it is just ‘one of those things’ that both TOD (Trashers of Doctrine) in our age present with the initials R.F—Ray being the first? I tell you—we are on to something here.

Apostasy (if Rolf is an example of it—I don’t know that he is, though he clearly does not write an ‘attaboy’) usually occurs at the divine/human interface. It was even true with Judas. He and God were tight! There were no problems there! But that “imposter” claiming to be the messiah was just not at all what Judas was expecting—and those “uneducated” followers that he was attracting—don’t even go there. My offhand impression, not having read the book (I did get my free copy—hee, hee, hee, which I will pay Rolf for if I read it—though I shouldn’t have to since I have written 3 1/2 books on the faith myself) is that he has acquired himself some ‘education’ and is disturbed that the Message is not better received among his new contemporaries, and he feels that it might be if his old contemporaries weren’t so ‘dumb.’ It is classism at work, imo.

The challenge here with Rulf is the divine/human interface—he reaffirms everything else. Bear in mind that most of those who discuss it on the internet will not share the same concept of what that interface ought be. Some are atheistic, and contend that there ought be no such interface because the ‘divine’ does not exist for them. A few contend that they themselves are the divine/human interface, or at least part of it, and they are miffed about being ‘cut off’ from the rightful role. And others think that the divine/human interface should be that of Santa Claus giving gifts to children, each gift perfectly wrapped without ambiguity, with no need to do anything other than play with your new toys all Christmas Day.

Is it a revolution—as online opposers assume, rubbing their hands together in glee? I’m not so sure. People think the Beatles song Revolution advocates revolution. Does it?

You say you want a revolution, Well, you know, We all want to change the world...But when you talk about destruction, Don't you know that you can count me out, Don't you know it's gonna be, All right....

You say you got a real solution, Well, you know, We'd all love to see the plan...You say you'll change the constitution, Well, you know, We all want to change your head. You tell me it's the institution, Well, you know, You better free you mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Ray, You ain't going to make it with anyone anyway, Don't you know it's gonna be , All right, all right, all right

Got a real solution? Show the plan. But if someone brings his plan to the altar and it is not acted on, what then? Does one become one of those who pushes ahead? Or does one free his mind instead and not make a grab for the wheel of the bus? As to getting myself a free copy...I had emailed him. Unfortunately, every malcontent in the world probably did, too—some to laud him and some to express dismay that their own pet peeve has been ignored. He may not want to hear from any of them—since he says that the core doctrines are all true, words that most of them will choke on—most of them want “destruction.”

I may write a lot, have a way with words, and craft them uniquely, but it would be a stretch to call myself a scholar, so I do not do so. “One scholar to another—I’ll drink to that,” said George Patton—or did he say ‘sonuvabitch’? No pretensions here. Maybe some other scholar can get me in good with him. Maybe I will read my copy and pay up. Or maybe I’ll just wait to referee the brouhaha that results as others devour it. 

What will be the upshot? Much has changed since the time of Chairman Ray, which was early for me and I’ve never read his book, either—I barely have to since so many have told me what’s in it. As mentioned before, what is the tone of Rolf’s book? Is it a call for “revolution” or does he say to those opposers who want destruction, “count me out.”? Everything has to be judged in its own historical context, and much has changed in forty years.

He wouldn’t appear on that smug webhost’s site because he was a (self-described) apostate—surely that’s a good sign—just as I would not appear on Lloyd’s podcast, though he all but begged me to and was nice as pie until he realized I had no intention of doing so, after which he was horrible. Rolf’s neighbor fellow Norwegian, self-described apostate, oozes with contempt that CO’s usually start as “window cleaners”—the same way that Celsus ridiculed the second century Christians for being “shoemakers, laborers, and the most clownish of men,” completely forgetting how God is partial toward those people and doesn’t look down upon them at all.

I think there is a scene in Superman in which a battle of titans looms and one of the regular citizen-mortals says, “This is going to be good!” That’s what the opposers are saying on the internet now. (And, yes—I know it doesn’t really fit with “Chairman Ray,” who was hardly a revolutionary, but who can resist the rhyming? Besides, he is dead.)

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'

The Rolf Fululi Book - Part 1

Rolf Furuli published a book that puts down the Governing Body as ones who have “lost their way.” The friendly atheist at was more than friendly when he heard—he was jubilant. He hedges some of his jubilation with the acknowledgement that Rolf has not abandoned anything else of his faith—he is still convinced that it is true. “That doesn’t mean the book serves no purpose, though,” Mr. Friendly says. “If he can get people to question aspects of the faith, or even plant seeds that might eventually get them to leave for good, that would be remarkable.”

As prodigious writer on all things JW, I was flooded with requests for comment—or at least you never know when that may start. Alas, I tend to take my time in getting around to things like this. I may—particularly if I am pestered about it—but it will take awhile

I am curious as to how things will be worded. Is it a ‘call to arms’ which is how the internet opponents will certain see it? Or is it more a personal ‘wish list’? Is it a call to ‘abandon ship’? It doesn’t appear to be, especially since there is no other ship to take its place and even an imperfect ship beats treading water. 

He is a scholar. Is he a scholar AND a doer, or has he just become a scholar? That will surely have a bearing. The physical house-to-house ministry grounds a person—leave it at your own spiritual peril.

The people of higher education generally assume ‘takeover rights.’ Does he? It will make a difference. To my mind, Christianity emerged as a ‘working class’ religion, and it always remained so. You know the verses: ‘uneducated and ordinary’, (Acts 4:13) ‘not many wise in a fleshly way, powerful, of noble birth’, (1 Corinthians 1:26) ‘hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones’ so as to ‘reveal them to babes’ (Matthew 11:25)

If the tone of his book recognizes these verses, my guess is that he is fine. If the tone is, ‘Time to let the smart people take over’, there could be a problem. It is when the ‘smart people took over‘ in the first century that Christianity strayed so far from its roots as to be unrecognizable. Opposers, always eager for a blowup, will frame it as ‘Battle of the Titans’ with sure dire consequences to one or the other. That doesn’t mean that he does.

Granted, as to higher education, the trouble with not having too much of it is that one finds it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and is thus tempted to dismiss it all as chaff. But there is a difference between saying that this or that policy has a downside, which the present brothers will probably agree with, and saying that we ought to have someone’s head on a platter, which they will not. What side does he come down on?

Anything done can be done another way. I know that. Everyone does. Anything with upside will have a downside. While I may present my dream list—everyone has one—as to what I would like to see—I work with what is.  I  may read this book someday, especially if I get the free copy I deserve as a fellow scholar, even if a pseudo one, but I haven’t just yet.

I tire of these fellows who are so fascinated by the devices of power that they become like the inside-the-beltway policy wonks who actually can’t do anything themselves so they specialize in critiquing what others do. At least Rolf has a track record, but that was long ago. Does he convey any sense that Jehovah is running the show or is it all political maneuverings with him? That is among the things I would be looking for. And what is he doing, not back in the day, but now? The pull of speaking to the choir rather than the householder is irresistible to some; I read of some in Bethel who were like that, and one can begin to fear for them. Has he become like that? Like Paul at 1 Corinthians 4:19 muses, I am not so interested in his speech, but in his power. Has he severed himself from the ranks of those doing the work of Jesus to become a policy wonk? Dunno, but that is what would interest me.

I live and breathe the truth [as Witnesses call their faith] and I have for nearly 50 years. When I read outside of the Bible itself, study materials of it, and what is preliminary to my own posts, I tend to read secular things that I am not so familiar with. It is fine that someone should write a book, but anyone can write a book—I’ve written four of them. I can read remarks that certain ones have left—there surely are enough of them—and assemble them into my own book on their behalf.

I’m still reading the book of the brother who survived Rwanda—a chapter at a time—I’ve gotten distracted. There’s over 8 million of Jehovah’s people and every one of them has a book in them. Just because they haven’t got around to writing it yet and maybe don’t have the wherewithal to do so does not make it any less interesting. 

The way this Norwegian apostate (not RF, but the one with the webcast) coos on about ‘scholarship’ irks me. Scholars put their pants on one leg at a time like you and I. They disagree no less than we regular mortals. Look to the world that scholars have collectively built—for the most part, this system of things is run by highly educated people—to properly evaluate ‘scholarship.’

I don’t despise it, but neither do I worship it, as it seemed that Norwegian fellow did—so impressed at Rulf’s educational achievements. It is like when I rode in Frankie’s new van and all the brothers were oohing and ahhing over its every new tech feature and I got fed up. “Frankie, does this car have a radio?” I said breathlessly when it was my turn. But Frankie is cool, not wound up too tight, and is a regular guy. He reads how things are going. “Nah, it doesn’t have one of those,” he says.

.....See Part 2:

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'

If You Stop to Kick Every Dog That Barks, You’ll Never Get Very Far—On Scholaship, Part 2

(See Part 1)

Q: “There is a rumor that the WTS does not care too much about its past but keeps its focus on the future.” The topic of Rolf’s new book lurks in the background.

I have heard that this is true, yet one quote from Russell that has been faithfully preserved since his death is, “If you stop to kick every dog that barks at you, you’ll never get very far.”

Granted, if someone barks, they may be quick to assume that such person must be a dog—but you would have to excel in scholarship to know otherwise, and as stated, that is not their strong suit, nor should it be. The second thing (the first thing is here) that ‘scholars’ do—I’ve seen plenty of it from people who think themselves learned—is to start quibbling over the Name—this pronunciation is better than that one and since that is the case, maybe it should not be used at all. Scholars reason this way. But if I go to another country and start ragging on the locals every time they botch my name, nobody says, “Whoa! That brother is scholarly!” They say, “What a pin-headed idiot!”

Because the HQ brothers are not scholarly, they are inclined to accept that what is done is done, and what is written is written. Once in awhile someone like Brother Splane comes along, looks it all over, and says, “We’re not doing anti-types anymore!—it’s enough to say ‘this reminds us of that”—maybe because too many have blown up in his face, but for the most part, the past is assumed to be stable past that can be built upon. It’s too bad they’ve tossed aside anti-types because I have a doozy for them. You think it is nothing that Dennis Christensen’s surname points to the one he follows, and his very profession is the same? They are going to twiddle their thumbs on thatone, putting equal significance on the second Russian imprisoned for the faith—Mgoyahen Bloggabodidillyvich? Not to worry, though—some wannabe prophet will pick up and run with it.

I can’t believe how many seem to take for granted that the devil’s gameboard is not rigged, or that his rules of ‘critical thinking‘ should carry the day. They do not see for a moment how flawed the tool is—or perhaps more to the point—how sharp it is on the points for which it has merit, too sharp for its staunch advocates to handle without cutting themselves. It is the words of the prophet Tom Cruise: “You can’t handle the truth!” 

The notion that we are rational creatures is a joke. Of course we aren’t! The heart decides what it want and then entrusts the head to devise a convincing rationale for it. For the most part, people read mainly so as to confirm what they already believe. It is amazing on social media how few are the people who change their minds on anything. Accordingly, for every verse in the Bible about the head, there are ten about the heart. Few of Jesus’ parables would stand up to rigorous critical thought—some of them barely make sense. But they target the heart, which is his goal. 

I also can’t believe how many may be stumbled over what Rulf or any fellow scholar will say—or even what complainers will say. “Well, we could be wrong on that,” I say to almost all of it, and move on. Do they in any case, speak to the fundamental reason that I was attracted to Jehovah’s Witnesses in the first place? “Finally—a religion where the people at the helm are smart and can be counted upon to say nothing wrong!” Did I say that? Does anyone? Of course not! There was religious truth found no where else, and we soon enough discovered (few did not know it already) that it was carried in earthen vessels. There was a humility found in in few places, not to mention a united brotherhood where the byword was love. This is why whenever persons are ‘stumbled’ over something like Rolf’s input, they are simply seizing on something to justify a decision already made in their heart. Why can’t they just say, “I’m like Demas—I prefer the present system of things?’ Why can’t they say as with from John, “I’m leaving because—I gave it a good whirl—but I’m just not one of their sort?” 

I also note that Rolf has not left the faith, and that he does not declare he intends to. Nor do I take for granted that he will be given the boot, even though he seems think it a foregone conclusion. Maybe—I certainly won’t be shocked if it goes that way—but I’ll take it as a done deal only when it is done.

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'

On Scholars—Part 1

“I think that some persons get overly involved in trying to make them out to be great Christians, when they never knew them, and only see through their own eyes "vicariously" through the books those men authored.” The conversation was about Rolf and his new book.

I think we suck up to scholars altogether too much. There is nothing scholarly about the “unlearned and ordinary” men taking the lead in the first century, and there is no indication that they regarded their “ignorance” as a condition from which they ought pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. When the “scholars” began having their day in the sun, the first thing they did is to infuse long pre-existing philosophies into Christianity, making it all but unrecognizable.

God gives his Holy Spirit to those obeying him as ruler, says Acts 5:32. It says nothing about their ‘scholarship,’ and one of the first things ‘scholars‘ do is refuse to obey. We should kiss up the them? I think not. “Okay, you did well, Peter and John—amazingly well considering how uneducated you are. Good job! But we smart people are here now, so shove aside and let us show you how to do it.” No.

In the overall world of scholarship, any ‘scholar’ believing the Bible makes a mockery of the word. The first thing ‘scholars’ do is to declare Adam and Eve a ludicrous tale for primitive peoples, thereby gutting the means to understand anything of importance—why death? why suffering? It all goes out the window. People are left clueless on the most important questions of life as they imagine themselves smarter than anyone else.

Not to put it down too much, of course. It is a gift that some will bring to the altar. But if those at the altar decline to spin that altar like the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ dial, hopefully the relatively few scholars that are JW scholars will be able to hold their peace. It is one component of Christianity—not nothing, but also not overriding. “Everything You Thought You Knew About Such-and-Such is Wrong!” is a headline that experienced ones have seen all too often.

As for me, I can’t believe how many pig-headed scholars have not come around to my point of view. I do have George Chrysiddes who wrote some nice things about Tom Irregardless and Me, and I ignored all my ‘stupid’ friends for a month when he bestowed his great favor. I am waiting on Rolf to join in with effusive praise. But other than that, these guys who squabble no less than we ordinary mortals have mostly not come around.

(Part 2:)

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'