Baptism is a risk! That’s what the Watchtower of June 15, 2011 page 5 says. (This article can be found on the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses at JW.org) You may be surprised at such an admission, but it is there for all to see when you read between the lines, and the ramifications of such a statement are chilling when analyzed. I thought it was worth breaking down and disassembling what this means in the light of critical thinking, something that is sorely lacking among most Jehovah’s Witnesses unfortunately. I made a video on my YouTube channel about it to accompany this article.1
You may have noticed that the writers of JW.org and other Watchtower literature and policies are expert spin doctors at implying things without ever actually saying them. Propagandists, demagogues, and professional symbol manipulators excel at the art of implying something without ever coming out and actually saying it. Communist governments are especially good at spreading propaganda this way so as to exercise influence and control upon the people they rule over. Watchtower leaders have imitated their methods (consciously or unconsciously) it seems.
It was May 28th of the year 2002, and I was a young elder with a newborn baby and a devout Jehovah’s Witness wife. On top of owning and operating a business and having family responsibilities, my elder duties seemed endless. In the five years since being appointed an elder I had already seen two elders removed, which caused bitter in-fighting on the elder body because of it. Two “alpha-male” elders were constantly sparring and trying to out-quote the other using Watchtower articles during backroom elder meetings. These would sometimes last for four or five hours and were exhausting. I was serving as the Service Overseer and was a regular pioneer, although the pioneering had to give way soon as my body could not indefinitely take the pace of such a breakneck schedule.
Another young elder (we had been appointed at the same time and he was only a year older than me) had confessed that he and his wife had committed fornication prior to being married and he had covered it up for years, but the elders used a loophole in the KS91 Flock book (the name of the secret elder handbook at the time) to justify his “repentance”1 which then allows the suppression of this revelation from the rest of the congregation. He was never reproved or deleted and continued to serve as the Congregation Secretary. Not long after his confession he moved his family to a neighboring Kingdom Hall, to “get a fresh start” as he said2. Since there was now only three elders left on the body at this point I took on the secretary position as well as the Theocratic Ministry School Overseer position. Shortly thereafter my wife complained that she “felt like a single mom” since I was hardly ever at my seat during meetings to help with the baby.
It was against this hectic backdrop that a mature and well-respected Ministerial servant said there was going to be an edition of the TV news show “Dateline” coming out that all in the congregation should watch. He said it was going to be a smear of lies against the Witnesses and that we needed to watch it so as to be prepared for the fallout. I had never heard of such a high-profile television show doing a piece on Jehovah’s Witnesses and I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I watched it, and it was far worse than anything that I had imagined it might be. The title was, “Witness For The Prosecution” and it was a devastating presentation3. It outlined wide-spread child molestation among Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even had two insiders that were brave enough to come on camera and speak out against the damaging Watchtower policies that allowed these crimes to take place.
When I mentioned to a former longtime elder that I was working on this story (initially for YouTube2
I recently completed a new YouTube video about the terrible state of affairs that thousands of grandparents have found themselves in after they stop serving the Watchtower Organization and it’s Eight-man “Slave Class”. The description and the link is below:
A heartbreaking situation is played out every day for many grandparents that are former Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons: Their precious grandchildren grow up without knowing them, and in some cases the little ones are told that their Grandma or Grandpa hates God and is serving Satan and will be killed at Armageddon.
Why would such a terrible thing be done? It is because of the Mormon Church and Watchtower Society’s harsh shunning policies. Some Jehovah’s Witnesses have used this terrible doctrine as a weapon against their own parents and it is a tragedy and a horrible loss for all sides. Once a person is indoctrinated into a cult, they will even turn on their own family members and this is one example of it in action.
What finally got me moving was an awakened brother from Brazil who messaged me and said,
“I just want to thank you for your courage to record your judicial committee. That was really shocking to see how they treated you. My wife also wants to thank you because, as she said, we would never believe this story if someone just told us. Thank you! You helped save our lives and our marriage!
My wife is waiting for the elders to call on her. She’s missing meetings for a month now. We believe they are consulting their spies my now. Because of your work, we learned to do it the right way. We are going to record it as well, and we are going to ask the right questions. No ‘debate’, as they say.
Would you consider transcribing your judicial committee? My wife was willing to translate and post your video with subtitles in our language. There are 750 thousand JWs in Brazil who would die to see this judicial committee. My brother-in-law wants to see it, but he can’t understand English.”
How could I say no to this? I have also had offers from others to translate the tribunal into Polish and Spanish as well. Since the videos of my “Apostasy Trial” were posted in late September of 2012 the series has been viewed over 60,000 times. The feedback and thanks I’ve received has been overwhelming. I had written one article about this several months ago entitled, “Feedback on my Judicial Meeting” but I would like to include a few of the new ones that have come in:
Alfonso GUTIÉRREZ via YouTube on 4/10/2013
Brother you’re really a disciple of Christ. What a loving prayer you said in behalf of those brothers blinded by the unscriptural policy of the WT. Eric, my brother, you will certainly be blessed by our loving father Jehovah when our Lord Jesus’ kingdom take over human affairs.
From: Sunshine Sky via YouTube, on 8/21/2013
Jwstruggle, this is the video that woke me up. I knew that I was being disobedient by watching it, but by the end of all of them… I just felt like my chains where falling apart, and my guilt was no longer there.
From: Dave Tony via YouTube, on 6/21/2013
As I watched this video I burst into tears because I felt those Elders hearts and that they were genuinely concerned yet so lost and blinded!! My heart really goes out to them….. Your bravery is inspirational because I haven’t had the courage to do what you did.
From: luomio via YouTube, on 6/2/2013
I was disfellowshipped from the Mormon church while “on my mission”, as Mormons say. Looking back I realize how insignificant those who disfellowshipped me and the organization are. I do enjoy letting them know how I feel though. I’m waiting for the right moment to officially resign from the church. Great videos.
pebbles6085 via YT on 5/09/2013
My family and I still worship Jehovah. However, we no longer go by the teachings of the Watchtower or their organization. We have never been happier and JEHOVAH still answers our prayers. Thank you for sharing your video. God Bless you always Brother.
Michael Atkinson via YT on 4/26/2013
These were the most revealing and touching 6 videos I’ve seen. There were moments when I was literally cheering after some of the points you made, because I could tell that The Holy Spirit was working in you. I am hoping one day my mother will listen to me, and leave the WT, and learn the real truth that’s in the Bible. Until then, all I can do is pray for her and all the Witnesses who are lost. I will also pray that people like you keep speaking the truth w/ love like you did. So inspiring!!
No, it was for therapeutic reasons of my own that I began to write a blog. I had almost no one to talk to. My best friend was my wife, and she had already begun calling me names like “apostate”, despite seeing me read the Bible every day, study with the children, etc. I was gaining weight, eating and drinking too much, and the cognitive dissonance was getting worse. On top of this I had to remain anonymous and was worried that I would be outed. It was something I felt I needed to do- to write down my thoughts and impressions, and get it all out.
I decided to call myself “JJ”. First off it was short and easy, and it was a nod to my deceased Mother whom I still love very much and miss every day. She wanted to name me JJ before I was born but my father exercised his veto power and I was named Eric instead.
The questions asked by the brother giving the baptism talk (since 1985) read:
1. “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?”
2. “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
Many have noticed that a person is not actually being baptized into Christ (See Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27) at this occasion as the scriptures indicate the first century Christians did. Also, as has been discussed on the JWStruggle forum and in other places online and by Bible scholars, there is strong circumstantial evidence that Matthew 28:19 was “adjusted” by those that hoped to cement their new trinity doctrine back in the fourth century, and the Father and the Holy Spirit were added to the original text. This is beyond the scope of the subject at hand but some references in the notes have been provided if any want to do further research on this topic.
Contrast this with what the Apostle Paul said at Galatians 1:8 which says, “However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed.”
That aside, what is this unique take of the Kingdom? Notice a few quotes from the August 1, 2004 Watchtower, in the article entitled, “God’s Kingdom Government—A Reality Today”
This message from the 2011 Watchtower is being strongly reiterated in the current District Conventions being held throughout North America and other parts of the world right now. There is a symposium with a talk about “Human Apostates” that is very slanderous and defamatory and has the ex-JW blogosphere up in arms over it.
The fact that loyal JWs are going against this advice is actually quite encouraging to me, as it shows that people are thinking for themselves more and more, even if they are operating from a position of ignorance on some points.
Here’s a video I made on this phenomenon back in February:
Some of these rogue Jehovah’s Witnesses that are trying to defend “The Truth” are sincere. Unfortunately many of them are also bullheaded and arrogant in the way that they try and make their case. I wrote about this once before in February of 2013 (See article, “JW Apologists Keep Commenting”) but thought it was worth revisiting. There seems to be some commonalities with these JW militants that I’ve gathered:
1. They are strong in their opinions and the “rightness” of their comments, which reflects the JW culture’s black and white thought process.
The following guest article by GoJira101 is quite informative, dealing with reading body language and how we can utilize simple clues when talking to a friend or loved one about TTATT. Without further ado, here is the article:
I am writing this information with the hope of helping you approach your friends and family with The Truth About The Truth (TTATT). The perspective I’m approaching from is how we can read their non-verbal cues to help us to wake them up. Also if you are still attending meetings or having contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses, how can you avoid telling them too much if you are being questioned and/or how to read their non-verbal communication to know when to stop talking and “back off?”
First I should explain how I have become knowledgeable on reading non-verbal communication. As a sign-language interpreter I have had extensive training, through college classes, on reading body language and facial expression (non-verbal communication) in order to work with someone who is deaf. My knowledge base also comes from the practical, everyday experience of working with deaf people. With American Sign Language (ASL), 93% is all body language, 7% is the actual signs/words. With ASL, because 93% of the language itself is body language and facial expression, I have to be able to read the person’s body language and facial expression in order to understand the meaning of what they say. For example, the sign for “FEAR” and “SCARED” are the same sign, but as we all know, being scared about something and having a fear, are two different things. Without being able to read the person’s body language I wouldn’t know what the person is trying to say.
I know you are probably thinking, “But how does this help me with talking to people about TTATT?” People read non-verbal communication every day without even realizing it. It is not difficult to understand non-verbal communication. People from all over the world have their own set of cultural non-verbal communication that truly shows what they are feeling/thinking. We experience these interactions every day.
For years people have been leaving the Watchtower Organization for varying reasons. The Watchtower itself used to mention the actual number of those disfellowshipped each year. Public relations shill for Watchtower, J.R. Brown said this in 1992:
“Elders disfellowship 50,000 to 60,000 Witnesses around the world each year”, Brown said. “It’s not an unusual occurrence, as far as we’re concerned.”
Like most thinking, reasonable people, we see that this is a cruel and inhumane practice, one that separates grandparents from grandkids, and Mothers and Fathers from their own children. It literally destroys hundreds or perhaps even thousands of families each year when it is enforced by JW elders acting as Watchtower representatives. Many spouses are urged to file for divorce or separation by members when their mate chooses to leave the Jehovah’s Witness movement.
Here’s one quote from JW.org about this topic, taken from the Watchtower 2011 2/15 pp. 28-32:
16 Consider the experience of a sister whose adult son at one time had love for Jehovah. Later in life, however, he unrepentantly chose to practice lawlessness. Hence, he was disfellowshipped from the congregation. Our sister loved Jehovah, but she also loved her son and found it extremely difficult to apply the Scriptural command to avoid associating with him…By cutting off contact with the disfellowshipped or disassociated one, you are showing that you hate the attitudes and actions that led to that outcome. However, you are also showing that you love the wrongdoer enough to do what is best for him or her.
In 1972 the Aid book on page 828 quoted an author by the name of Daniel Mannix, in the article on “Incense”. They quote Mr. Mannix as stating that early Christians refused to give service or worship to the emperor. What the writers of the Aid book likely did not know at the time though was that this book is a work of historical fiction and contains many extrapolations and embellishments, that was authored by a professional sword-swallower and illusionist. In addition, the book is filled with many salacious stories and accounts that would land any rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witness in hot water if they wrote or even read such a book!
This author’s book and accompanying quote from it has been referenced or reproduced by Watchtower at least 14 times. This was confirmed by doing a search on JW.org and also on the Watchtower Library CD-Rom. It has been used in the School brochure, Reasoning Book, Insight on the Scriptures, at least six times in the Watchtower magazine and three times in the Awake Magazine. Here is the most recent citation where Mr. Mannix’s book is quoted from:
Like Jesus, early Christians courageously rendered worship only to Jehovah. (Matt. 4:8-10) They refused to burn incense in honor of the Roman emperor. (See picture.) “Very few of the Christians recanted,” wrote Daniel P. Mannix, “although an altar with a fire burning on it was generally kept in the arena for their convenience. All a prisoner had to do was scatter a pinch of incense on the flame and he was given a Certificate of Sacrifice and turned free. It was also carefully explained to him that he was not worshiping the emperor; merely acknowledging the divine character of the emperor as head of the Roman state. Still, almost no Christians availed themselves of the chance to escape.”—Those About to Die.
Here is a snippet from Wikipedia about this special place:
Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. Snow and skiing are a significant part of the area’s economy and reputation. Mountain and lake scenery are attractions throughout the year. The Nevada side also includes large casinos. Highways provide year-round access from Reno, Carson City, and Sacramento.
Londo recently wrote an article entitled “Apostate Boogeymen” and it was well received by many. A friend of Londo’s liked the article on his Facebook, which prompted a lady we will call Gina to comment negatively about the article. She stated in so many words that we should all just leave the Witnesses alone and go on with our life. (Which of course is precisely what we are trying to do!) Positivity will triumph just as light always prevails over darkness, so we do not need to be stuck in the negative, and we are trying to shed the many years or even a lifetime of bigotry and judgementalism towards others that believe differently than us. That’s why we are here, posting our articles and comments so that we can “figure it all out”.
Anyway, her response made me wonder what was going through her mind, especially after finding out that Gina herself was DFed some 5 years previously. She was OUT of the Watchtower organization and no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses! So why the negative comment? I decided to message her, and here is the exchange:
My friend who goes by Londo wrote an article that really highlights the terrible treatment meted out by Watchtower and its followers to those that have a differing viewpoint. The governing body and it’s supporters are actually causing suicides and broken marriages over these hateful teachings. This is one of the reasons so many lawsuits are pending against the WT Corporation right now.
Jesus did not support hatespeech or shunning, and in fact he spoke out about the Pharisees, calling them vipers and blind guides. He never advocated these things! See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw8yU-r8G-8
We are very familiar with this story of Jesus being tempted by Satan, who attempted to set himself up as the one Jesus would worship. A poster on JWnet made a very thought provoking thread on this passage, and I took his excellent idea and made an informational graphic to illustrate his point.
It is heartbreaking for many of us to consider that these few men (currently 8) of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have so much power and yet use so little of it for true good. Some have postulated that Brother Herd (a current member) is in favor of removing the blood ban but does not have the required 2/3 majority vote to affect change in JW policy. Whether this is true or not we do not know, nor probably ever will. In the meantime, each year an untold number of brothers and sisters die for refusing the medical use of blood.
What many of us strongly feel we do know is that when humans are silent and fail to act when people are dying or being harmed all around them is wrong and immoral. One current governing body member who taught my pioneer school many years ago I had formerly considered a friend. But how could I call him “friend” today while the brothers and sisters in the Kingdom Halls are hurting and leaving by the tens of thousands? How could I call him friend when he has the power to stop the shunning of millions of people? Or at the very least recuse himself from further participation in something that is “crooked and cannot be made straight”. (Ecclesiastes 1:15) What about the governing body member who was a known homosexual and then later was accused of child molestation twice and quietly dismissed from world headquarters back in the 1980s? Was a judicial committee formed and these alleged crimes investigated? We do not know for certain. But we do know that he was given a pension and sent to the other side of the country and had no restrictions imposed upon him in his new congregation. He was free to live out the rest of his life in comfort. Doesn’t this make us think of what used to happen in the Catholic church for so many years when pedophile priests were shuffled from one parish to another?